The North Carolina Center for Health & Wellness at UNC Asheville (NCCHW) has received a major grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to initiate and support arthritis awareness and programs for people with arthritis in communities across the state. The grant will provide $250,000-500,000 annually for five years with a goal of reaching more than 174,000 North Carolinians.
“Arthritis can lead people to limit their physical activity, which can then open to the door to serious health problems in older adults. So our goal is to get more arthritis suffers involved with the kinds of walking programs and other aspects of care that are demonstrated to help most,” said Amy Joy Lanou, NCCHW’s new executive director and professor of health and wellness at UNC Asheville. “We are excited that among the many applicants across the country, the CDC chose North Carolina and specifically the NCCHW, to implement a state-based approach to increase self-management behaviors and improve the quality of life of adults with arthritis. This five-year grant will allow us to expand relationships with health care providers and help new organizations begin to serve adults with arthritis.”
The arthritis initiative continues NCCHW’s focused work to improve the health of North Carolinians as they age. NCCHW serves as the statewide entry point to many evidence-based programs in chronic disease and chronic pain self-management, walking, and falls prevention. The center received grant funding last year to work with partner agencies to facilitate referrals from health care providers in 19 Western North Carolina counties to falls prevention programs which promote appropriate physical activity and teach prevention strategies to at-risk older adults. This new grant supports NCCHW’s work to create a continuum of care for adults statewide.
“Together with our partners providing care and education across North Carolina, we hope to move the needle on major indicators that are tracked by the North Carolina Office of State Health Statistics,” said Nicolle Miller, NCCHW director of state and community collaboration and project director for this grant. “Over five years, we hope to improve physical activity levels and health status among adults with arthritis, engage more adults with arthritis in self-management and walking programs, and increase health education provided to adults with arthritis.”
NCCHW was launched at UNC Asheville in 2010, and works statewide to impact policy, build capacity and create health initiatives through a web of community partners all over North Carolina providing wellness programs and education. With a staff of seven and offices in Asheville and Raleigh, NCCHW continues to add to its list of partners and reach more people across the state with wellness education and programs. For more information, visit ncchw.unca.edu.